When folks get married these days and recite their vows, often what they really mean is they will love their spouse when it’s convenient; when they are feeling loved or respected in return; when they feel like it; when all is well; until it gets too hard; until I change my mind.  I actually had someone tell me once that when he got married, he didn’t want to lie, so he didn’t say, ‘until death do us part’ but rather, ‘until irreconcilable differences.’  I don’t know if he was serious about changing the vows, but he was quite serious about his view of marriage.  Needless to say, the marriage didn’t last very long.

There is a divorce epidemic in this country that reflects the selfish hearts we all possess.  Our culture no longer sees marriage as a covenant but a contract, and contracts can always be broken…half of the time they are.  It may seem like the easy way out to bail when things get hard, but the effects are far greater than anyone can foresee.  Sadly, kids are often in the middle, and no matter how ‘cordial’ the divorce, and how strong they are or how well they seem to be doing, divorce has a long-lasting, negative effect on kids.

In recent days, weeks, and months I have come to appreciate all the more the commitment my husband and I have to be together for the long haul.  Not that we are facing any extreme challenges.  We’ve had our share of argu-ahem, disagreements over the years, but as we face new challenges with our three kids, I see why some moms and dads sometimes bail.  As he patiently deals with an angry child for the umpteenth time, calmly trying to handle the temper tantrums, I look at him and think, “‘how easy it would be (in the short-term) for him to say, ‘I can’t handle this, I’m outta here.'”  But he never does, and I don’t think he ever will.  That produces such a trust and security.

I don’t live in fear that if something gets too hard, I’ll be on my own.  I don’t ever wonder if he’s going to decide not to come home one day.  His commitment to the children and me isn’t dependent upon his mood that day or how easy life is.  His commitment was determined the day we stood before God, entering into a covenant sanctioned by Him.  There is an underlying submission to God, and a trust that even when (not if) difficulty comes, it is part of God’s work of sanctification, shaping and molding us into the image of His Son.  The very trial that seems like the absolute worst possible scenario from an earthly perspective may very well be the best thing from an eternal perspective.

Knowing that the outcome of any particular disagreement will not alter the nature of our relationship, we are able to face things head-on.

To quote one of my favorite preachers, Voddie Baucham, ‘If you ever leave, I’m goin’ with you.’  If more couples would adopt this perspective, with a commitment to then deal with the issues and not bury them, I think we might just have a renewal of marriage.